By Carla Kolbe
MAYFIELD — The town comprehensive plan committee held its second of two public hearings Tuesday night at the Mayfield Municipal Building before a packed house eager to share its opinions of the draft plan.
Committee member Marilyn Salvione prefaced the public hearing by explaining the purpose of the updated comprehensive plan.
“This is a vision,” she said. “It is not a zoning law nor ordinance, just a vision as to where the Mayfield community may want to be in 20 years.”
She stressed the public comment, ideas and input were the tools the committee would include in a final draft.
Most present questioned the committee’s proposed land use plan map, and how it would affect their property. Parts of existing residential and agricultural parcels were shown as “recreational” and sparked concern about the use and possible future sale of the properties.
Many Mayfield farmers reminded the committee the importance of their role in the community.
Lee Hallenbeck, representing the Fulton County Farm Bureau, said the plan was confusing, and wanted clarification, while reminding the committee not to forget about its agricultural significance.
John Close, whose farm is a landmark on the Great Sacandaga Lake, explained his family’s heritage of farming since 1850. They lost acreage when their land was claimed by eminent domain as the Sacandaga Reservoir was created, and he is now concerned about losing his land to recreational use.
“No farms, no food; don’t zone me out,” said Close.
Concern was also raised about the possibility of an established agricultural parcel between Paradise Point and Lakeview Roads being used as a golf course.
Committee member Robert Phillips reminded the crowd these were merely suggestions.
Fulton County Planning Board Director James Mraz was present, as the comprehensive plan committee turned to county planning for advice to devise the draft.
“The purpose of this hearing is to get the community input,” said Mraz. “The board has heard what was said, and will include the information and comments in the final draft.”
Both Mraz and committee member Michael Stewart admitted the draft’s wording needed to be clarified, reassuring residents that the land use deemed “recreational” did not allow any unauthorized use of their property.
The board made it clear the night’s concerns and suggestions would be included in the draft, but it was not clear if there would be another public forum since there have already been two, and only one is required by state law.
The draft, when it is finalized, would then go to the Mayfield town board where the plan must be referred to the Fulton County Planning Board; it must undergo a state environmental quality review; and be presented at another public hearing.
The town board will have three options for the plan: approve it as submitted, approve it with modifications, or reject it.
The committee was established in 2011 as per the suggestion of the Mayfield town board to update the town’s comprehensive plan. They have met monthly working on the draft. Previously a public hearing was held Nov. 8, 2011, encouraging the community’s response.
Questionnaires seeking community input on the comprehensive plan were made available to Mayfield property owners via the town’s website, announced in press releases, and distributed for pick up at Mayfield businesses. Fewer than 200 were returned.
In a press release made available prior to the public hearing, the comprehensive plan committee noted that the town’s population has grown steadily since 1930. In 1930, the population was 2,077. By 2010, the population grew to 6,495. Mayfield’s population, however, only grew by 63 between 2000 and 2010. This was the smallest 10-year population increase in more than 70 years.
The town’s population is aging. In 2000, the median age was 38.9. By 2010, the median age increased to 45.4 — an increase of 17 percent.
Mayfield’s 65-plus population grew significantly between 2000 to 2010. In 2010, 1,117 residents were 65 or older, compared to 907 in 2000. This was an increase of 110, or 12 percent, between 2000 to 2010. In 2010, 17 percent of the population was 65 plus.
The population of school-aged children between 5 and 19 declined from 1,432 to 1,165, or 19 percent, from 2000 to 2010.
The 2010 median income of Mayfield town residents was $37,982. The 2010 median income of all Fulton County residents was $33,663.